Toyota president warns Apple: The car business isn’t easy

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda on Thursday warned Apple that there’s more to the car business than just having the technology to produce them.

vehicle under wraps

River Davis for Bloomberg:

The automotive industry welcomes new entrants, “but after making a vehicle, I’d like them to be prepared to deal with customers and various changes for some 40 years,” Toyoda said at a news conference held Thursday by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, where he is the chairman.

The Cupertino, California-based company’s entry into the car market has sparked fear among some legacy automakers concerned about the potential disruptiveness of an Apple-branded vehicle. These concerns may be one of the reasons discussions between Apple and some firms have apparently fizzled in recent months, with Hyundai Motor Co. and others backtracking after saying they were in talks.

This isn’t the first time Toyoda has been dismissive of new entrants. In a briefing in November, Toyoda said that Tesla Inc. isn’t making “real products.”

MacDailyNews Take: Patronizing Apple is definitely the way to go, Toyota, just ask Dell, RIM, Palm, etc.!


  1. I’ve never believed that Apple will partner with a big name car manufacturer. My money would be on them partnering with a company that few have heard of,

    The sort of company I see Apple partnering with is Arrival. They make electric delivery vans and buses by a very innovative process. Instead of a production line, the vehicles are assembled in one spot and each robot comes over to do what it needs to do before moving on to the next vehicle. They set up factories in existing industrial units without needing massive installations of heavy equipment. Their who process is scalable and can be set up in multiple countries, which helps to avoid tariffs and import restrictions.

    The vehicles they currently make have anodised aluminium bodywork, which is pre-finished, needing no paint. That sounds like something Apple would be interested in.

    Arrival have the mechanical, engineering and mass production know how pretty well sorted. They are not so advanced with their software. Again it sounds like a good match for Apple.

    Other companies have invested in Artival, and some of those companies have been mentioned as possible car manufacturers for Apple.

    I have no knowledge about Artival’s plans other than what is in the public domain, but they are exactly the type of company that Apple might work with.

  2. Funny how in MDN’s take, the Dell link shows a Steve Jobs video where he plays the TV ad of Muhammed Ali throwing punches and Ali says at the end, ‘You out sucka’. That same ad can be played for Steve’s own hand picked Apple CEO Tim ‘SJW’ Cook who became part of the Big Woke Tech Oligarchy that has tarnished the Apple ‘Think Different’ luster with some stale censoring idiocy patina under the guise of community standards that FB and Twitter don’t conform to and yet remain in Cook’s good graces. I would love to see the incriminating evidence FB and Twitter has on Cook.

    I’d worry less about what Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda says and concentrate more on the actions and sayings of the current Apple CEO idiot at hand!

    1. The trouble with that analogy is, Apple were already portable-device geniuses. Personal transportation is a totally different industry. I worry they’re losing their laserlike focus on their core competence.

      Maybe it’ll be a slow road to success, as with AppleTV+.

      1. I think it depends on how their core competency is defined.

        Apple is great at combining sophisticated hardware, software, and services, into beautiful, easy to use products and building them efficiently by the hundreds of millions with the help of contract manufacturers.

        Sounds a lot like where the car market is going.

  3. This reminds me of the exactly the same situation wherein Elon Musk was criticized and laughed at by CEO’s of Big 3. Those CEO’s said exactly the same thing Toyota’s CEO said. Car biz is much more complicated and way beyond Elon’s hands.
    Look what happened now.
    And Elon is now circling over the heads of these CEO’s including Toyota’s with huge rockets.

    But then, Cook is absolutely no Elon Musk.

    1. Despite the many years in business, Tesla has been struggling to make enough cars to make a significant, if any, profit. Build quality is also a bit suspect. All should get better with time, hopefully for Tesla. So making cars is not an easy venture.

    2. Except Toyota has crushed Elon’s EV venture with units produced and profit made.

      Tesla is a bizarre business anomaly and only time will sift out their reality.

      1. Tesla proved its easy to make the best car in the world. So easy a fist timer with no resources can do that.

        Apple has 100x more resources Tesla had back then. And they know those resources needs to be used to build the supply chain.

        And that’s something Apple knows how to manage. It’s really more about how to manage contracts etc, and that works the same way regardless of what the actual components are.

        Traditional car manufacturers in other hand have huge problems. Their existing supply chains, as great they were, are so outdated that having them is a disadvantage. Dozens of electric subsystems from separate companies with huge integration issues while in the future you should have just one (or a few). And then there’s the business of building ICEs.

        This is a huge mess with a trillion worth of assets that need to be written down, huge network of long term partnerships with cross-ownership and millions of workers with unions and voting rights losing their jobs.

        That means there’s also a LOT of politics in the game. These old companies can’t change their business fast enough while Apple has zero baggage and virtually unlimited resources to build the car production system of future from scratch.

  4. “One must be crazy enough to think he can change the world Or something like that) – Steve Jobs

    Elon has a mystical drive to dream big and actually get it done (successfully).

    Mr. Cook, perhaps buying Tesla might be your solution? But you probably cannot manage it. “It is too complicated”.

    1. Tesla is overpriced and the only valuable asset it has is brand. Brand is not one of Apple’s problems.

      Neither is designing a great car. That’s really simple, practically anyone can do that. The more electric cars come out, the more clear it is: it’s easy to desing a great electric car.

      The complex thing is the production system. Churning out high quality, reliable cars 24/7/365. And Tesla hasn’t shined there.

  5. We shall see if people buy Apple cars as mindlessly as we buy Apple tech. Apple can’t build a car that only runs on Apple roads, or that only Apple approves who can ride in it and where it can go. Apple can’t provide minor upgrades, a slightly faster 0-60 or new speakers and better tires and claim best in class every year. I guess price doesn’t matter. Tesla has proven that making vehicles that only youtubers with a million+ subscribers can afford is possible, so we shall see.

  6. What Toyoda understands to be “the” car business and what Apple develops to be its car business might not be the same thing. I can’t imagine Apple investing bazillions to stand up a me-too enterprise.

    1. I’m currently driving a Toyota Landcruiser (2017). No CarPlay (Toyota has been very late in adapting that) and the User Interface is absolutely horrendous. I truly hate all the warnings and restrictions. Will be my last Toyota because of it …

    2. You are right. I was only reacting to Toyota’s remark. Apple is probably desperate to recoup big wasted money oin their project Titan, which I always understood was an autonomous driving tech. They probably thought a facial recognition system (liDAR etc) was a cure-all solution. There is a report that Apple even talked to Ferrari and was courteously shown a door. They also realized that most major car mfrs are way too ahead of Apple on autonomous driving tech. Tesla alone is way ahead on it, an accident notwithstanding. Today’s cars have so many electronic component far more sophisticated than iPhone.
      Apple, please do not get into PL law suit with immature and unfinished tech. Money was wasted and there is little chance to recoup it.

  7. Truly self-driving vehicles are merely autonomous robots even if sophysticated. Robots on public roads are probably the future. They will interact with human driven cars and trucks. Litigants will develop new case law based on humans suing robots, but I would prefer that folks would not be legally thwarted from suing the robots’ CEO and top management. However, Congress could indemnify robots and management like it indemnified AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and the nuke industry because, you know, Capitalism and China whom the US thought the methods of extreme Capitalism: Devour everything, spare nothing and no-one as rapidly and nimbly as possible within the law. If law stands in the way, pay off representatives to weaken or eliminate that law.

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